THE ART OF KICKING

There are many flashy, gravity-defying techniques that can be learned in the art of Tae Kwon Do; however, it is important not to forget and to continuously perfect the basic kicking techniques that lay the foundation for such advanced kicks. These basic kicking techniques include the front-kick, roundhouse-kick and side-kick. These three kicks encompass much more than just the basic movements; to execute them properly, the student must also have many skills such as balance, coordination, strength, flexibility, speed, and power. Although these kicks are some of the most basic in Tae Kwon Do, it is essential to master all three to advance your kicking ability in order to perform advanced combinations and jumping kicks. As with anything in the martial arts, the only way to perfect and master new techniques is with constant repetition, patience and practice of the basics.

Front Kick

Weapon: Ball of the foot (located below the toes) Target: Mid-section or face Snap Kick or Thrust Kick: Snap (Upon striking target immediately snap back) Stance: Fighting Stance (Kicking leg back, weight evenly distributed) Kick with back leg Training Tips

Roundhouse Kick

Weapon: Top of the foot or instep of the foot Target: Side of the head

Snap kick or Thrust kick: Snap (Upon striking target immediately snap back) Stance: Fighting Stance

Kick with back leg

Training Tips

Again with a roundhouse-kick, begin by using a bar to focus on each individual step and balance.

When in chambered position, aim the knee as high as possible in line with the kick’s final destination.

Make sure that the foot of your base leg (the leg on the ground) is turned 180-degrees for balance.

To build the muscles necessary for the roundhouse-kick, slowly practice one set of seven kicks. Hold the leg at the point of full extension for five seconds.

Use a focus target with a partner for accuracy.

It is best to use a bar for balance when first practicing the front kick as it enables one to focus on the specific steps of the kick. If you do not have access to a balance bar, a table or a chair are good substitutes.

To build your leg muscles, slowly execute one set of seven kicks for each leg. Hold the leg at its point of full extension for five seconds before snapping back.

If you have a workout partner, practice with a focus target for accuracy.

Common Mistakes

The number one mistake when performing the basic front kick is doing the kick all in one motion and ignoring the individual steps described above.

Other common mistakes include not pushing out the hips to get the most power and extension from the front kick and dropping the hands-always keep them up for balance and protection!

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